Projects Around the House

Its seems each year I’ve got something going on around the house 🙂 After all my traveling, I’ve had some time to get to a few things. In the last two weeks I’ve changed a shower rod/curtain, installed a cabinet in a bathroom, and gave my deck some much needed attention by resurfacing it. The deck turned out great, later that day it rained and seeing the water bead up put a smile on my face:) Last, I’m reaping the benefits of work done two summer ago, here’s a few shots of my perennials.

Upgrade the shower rod to the curved type:

Install new cabinet in bathroom (notice the modification ; ):
Deck Before:
Deck After:


Clean install of OSX, Leopard

5/26/09: Slight update, here are the OSX programs I use (moved up rather then at the bottom : )

Firefox– web browser, I also add foxmarks, firebug, and gTranslate to name a few
Thunderbird – mail client Who needs a desktop client when you can use gmail, or offline gmail
Adium– IM client
Cabos – file sharing client Replaced by Transmit. Go Bittorrent!
Windows Remote Desktop – remotely login to a windows client with desktop sharing
AppFresh – Keeps your programs up-to-date with the latest versions.
Onyx – OSX maintenance and tweaking app
VLC – a good media player.
NetNewsWire – good RSS feed reader
Gizmo – good VOIP client
Flip4Mac – add windows components to quicktime player
Growl – Notification manager for mac
Unrarx – rar utility for mac
Burn – a cd/dvd burning util with more functionality then the built in burner program.
CyberDuck – a great/free ftp program.
Handbreak – a utility to convert media, ie DVD to mp4 (iphone/touch/iTV/etc).
Witch – alt-tab for mac to cycle through windows, rather then just the cmd-tab which cycles through applications 🙂
avidemux2 a good video editing app Replaced By iMovie.
NeoOffice Great alternative to M$ Office.

Tools for developers:
*SVNX – Code management tool for developers
*Eclipse – a good code development environment.
*iTerm – nice terminal replacement for osx Now I just tweak terminal
*xCode – required for macports & other development
*MacPorts – a tool for getting and installing various packages
*Porticus – a nice GUI for MacPorts
*CocaMySQL – MySQL GUI manager, get the beta Now I use SQLDeveloper

What does everyone else run on their mac?

Here’s the rest of the earlier post, I have to say that these tips are for normal mechanical hard drives, I’ve recently moved to Solid State Drive and this does not apply.  Next it’s moving temp data to a RAM Disk rather then the SSD itself.

(tip for typical hard drives:)

Ok, new mac so time for a clean custom install 🙂 See my php and ruby writeups on previous Mac talks.

First let me start by saying that these instructions are how I setup a mac from scratch and you might not necessarily follow the same steps, though I think you should. If you are interested in repartitioning your drive, read on, if not, skip to step 1.

background Info: repartition drive. Why? Two reasons. a) performance-disk you want the most important or commonly used data on the fastest part of the hard drive, the outer edge. Also you want related files that will be accessed together, close by. When a disk writes data it looks to the first free area and writes data there. When data is deleted, that space is marked as free. So it might look like UUFUUUFFUUU, with U being used and F being free. The problem is, new data might not be written in a continous manner, meaning if you have a blob of data to be written to disk, the first part might be written in the first free block, then some more is written in the next free block, then jump again to the next free space. Now you have data spanning different regions of the disk, when it is read, the hard drive head will need to traverse multiple areas of the disk which will be slower then a continuous or at least tightly packed data region. for example, say our data is *, it might look like: UU*UUU**UUU* rather then UUUUUU****. Having partitions doesn’t totally eliminate those problems, but it ensures that the data is at least on the same partition so close to each other, and since the first partition is on the outter edge, you can be sure the OS data will be loaded faster then if it were spread across the midde of the disk.
b) resiliency – suppose you have a virus or if part of the hard drive fails. With multiple partitions you limit the damage to be done to that one partition, also if you use disk imaging, you need to save the data snapshot of a partition to a different disk/parition. Sure you could use an external drive, but it’s easier to save it to the same disk, just a different partition.
Typically I create 3 partitions, a system or boot partition for my operating system and program files, a small partition of my frequently used data files like email, chat logs, code, and a last partition for big files that are probably not accessed frequently like movies, disk images, program installers, etc. I typically take periodic snapshots of the system partition and back those up the the last or storage partition. This is applicable to both windows and mac installs.

Boot up your mac with a OSX dvd by pressing power, waiting till you hear a beep, then press and hold the ‘c’ button. you can also boot and hold the option button, then select dvd. Go through the preliminary screens.
[optional repartion of HD, see above]
Once there, choose Disk Utility from Utilities at the top. Select the hard drive from the left box and choose 3 Partitions. Then resize them. I typically choose about 16-32gig for the first, 2gig for the second and the reminder to the last. Feel free to rename your partitions here as well, I used: System, Data, and Storage.
[end optional]
Select your destination (System if you repartitioned & renamed), choose options and select Erase and Install, continue.
the next screen is important, chose customize. Here, un-check things you will not need, for example, under printers, in only install HP and the ones under 15MB I also do not install Language Translations, but you might want a subset of those installed by default. You can always install them later if needed.
For me, my install when from 11.4 to 6.9gigs.
Finish the rest of the install.

Now it’s time to customize.
first off, you’ll want to remove a sleep file which takes up as much space as the amount of RAM you have installed, in my case 2GB. Read about it here:
Next you’ll want to do all the OSX software updates
The in System preferences customize to your preferred settings, you should check out each icon to make sure you see everything.
Install Onyx to clean up the disk and perform maintenance, download from:
Once here, if you have repartitioned, it’s a good idea to take a disk image (assuming you’ve run Onyx and cleaned up the disk a bit).
If you have it, install Parallels next. If you repartitioned, the Storage partition should be empty, we will want to write the windows disk image file to this partition first to ensure that it is on the fastest part of that partition and is a continuous block.